Monday, February 23, 2009

THE WORLD WITHOUT US - by Alan Weisman

Alan Weisman starts out by asking his readers to look around and imagine the world they see - houses, businesses, roads, power lines, cities, farms, etc. - without humans. Then he asks, how would nature respond to our absence? Just how long would our creations, our architecture, our art, our accomplishments, stand to leave our mark on this planet? And have some of our marks left a more or less indelible imprint on Earth?

The rest of the book examines various environments, deserts, rain forests, cities, farms, forests, and oceans and how they would possibly respond to the fact that no longer were humans maintaining any of the structures we've created. Nature is powerful, and would likely display its staying power and relentlessness over time. But what of the artifacts, like Uranium 238, that we've distilled into concentrations that would otherwise not be found? What of our chemicals, like rubber and polymers What of the emissions we've sent into our atmosphere and into our waters? What of the radio and TV signals we've sent beyond the solar system itself?

It's a very interesting, very thought provoking book. I read a lot more fiction than non-fiction, but this one kept me reading for a few days now, and whether you are a person who feels that humans can affect the planet on a macro- basis or not, it's something that will make you ask questions, if only of yourself, and perhaps make you more aware of your environment and your impact on it.

No comments: